Back-to-school list for Canvas

As you get ready for the beginning of the semester, you might also create a virtual classroom by using Canvas. Canvas can be used to share class materials, collect assignments, communicate with students and grade assessments. You may use one or two features, or you may use it extensively based on your specific needs. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  1. Create a course in Canvas:
    If you have not done so already, request a Canvas shell for each of your courses. To do so, go to MyACU, click on the wrench toolWrench tool in MyACU for your course to request a course to be created. Check detailed instructions here.
  1. Inform students where to find Canvas:
    Inform your students, either in class or by email, how they can access their class sites in Canvas. Canvas is linked to Banner through single sign on (SSO), therefore students can also find their courses by clicking on the Canvas icon Canvas Icon once they logged in to MyACU. They can also go to their Canvas home page by visiting: acu.edu/canvas.
  1. Publish your Canvas course:
    Students will not be able to see your course content until you have published them. You will need to publish your course by clicking on the “publish” button once on the course home page Unpublished/Published Buttonsfor students to get in. Modules and items will also need to be published for students to access. You will need to click on the cloud button Publishing Cloud Buttonassociated with modules and items to publish them. Once published, the item or module will turn green . PublishedYou can go to student view (click on “settings” on course menu and the student view iconStudent view iconis located towards the far right of the page. You do NOT have to publish every module and every item at the beginning of the semester. Just publish those you want them to see.
  1. Add TA to your course.
    To add a teaching assistant to your course, go to MyACU, find the wrench tool Wrench tool in MyACUfor your course, click on “teaching assistants”, and search for the name of the person you would like to add. It may take up to two hours for the TA to see their course.
  2. Include Canvas orientation content in Canvas:
    Some students are new to Canvas and would appreciate some guidance on how to use various functions and features of Canvas. We have shared a series of video tutorials in Canvas Commons for you to import and customize in your course. Check here for instructions.
  3. Import a fall template, if needed: Please also note that we have created a template for you to use.  This template came with weekly start date and some important academic dates in Canvas (see screenshot below). Please contact Berlin Fang or Amy Boone from the Adams Center if you need help importing it into your course, or if you want other assistance with Canvas.
    calendar

 

We would also recommend that you bookmark or subscribe to the Adams Center blog as we frequently publish information about Canvas you might find useful. This blog also has a specific section on Canvas you might find useful.

Canvas and Turnitin Dates

If you hear from students that they cannot submit their Turnitin assignment in Canvas, one likely cause is that the due dates have passed.  Canvas-Turnitin due date conflict could also cause the problem.  To check and change, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the assignment with the problem;
  2. Click on “edit assignment settings”;

Edit Canvas setting

3. Check if the due date has passed.  Change if needed.

4. Save if you have made some changes to the due date.

Save in Turnitin setting

5. Look for Turnitin settings.  Depending on your screen size, it could be collapsed into these three bars, as shown below.

Three bar for Turnitin assignments

6. Click on “settings”.

Turnitin settings

7. Check the start date (when student can start to submit), due date (when assignment is due) and release date (when feedback is given to students) to make sure they are set in a way to allow submission.  Make change as needed.

Turnitin dates

8. If you want to allow late submissions, click on “optional settings”, as shown above.

9. Check to allow late submissions, if applicable.

Allow late submissions10.  Remember to save your change by clicking on “submit”.

Submit

If this does not solve the submission problem, please contact us for help.

Tools to make scheduling easy

If you constantly email with students for a time to meet for office hours or arrange time for a series of class presentations, please remember there might be a better way of scheduling.

Google Calendar

If both sides know a general time to meet, just create a Calendar invitation which can get the item on the calendars for both you and the other person, if he or she accepts it.  Even if the invitation is not accepted, there is a record on your calendar how many people  (and who) have accepted your invitation. You can also add a notification which will remind both yourself and the other person about the event before it starts.

Canvas Scheduler

For your classes, you can use the “scheduler” tool to create appointment slots.  Here is how:

Go to your course, find calendar for the course, click on “scheduler”, and then “create an appointment group”.

Scheduler

You will then see this page, where you can name your appointment group, select the date and the time range, and specify if you’d divide the time range into equal slots of, say, 10 minutes. Click on “go” and Canvas will automatically create a series of time slots for your appointments. Remember to “save and publish”.Scheduling page

Now, you can tell students to reserve appointments using the scheduler tool.  Ask them to go to your course, find the course calendar from the course home page,  select “scheduler”, and then click on the name of the appointment group.  They will then be able to click on available slots to make reservations. If they change their minds, they can click on the slot they reserved to “unreserve” it.
Student view of schedulerYou can book me:

The Canvas scheduling tool only work for your courses in Canvas.  If you intend to show your availability to others not associated with your class or even ACU, you can use the “youcanbook.me” tool to create a public-facing scheduler for others to see your availability and book your time.

Check the following video for more information about this tool:

Common Turnitin Issues

We have had Turnitin integration in Canvas in a while and we have heard of a few issues which I would like to address in the following question and answer format.

If you are a new user of Turnitin, please check this post for instructions on how to deploy the tool in your course.

Question: My students were told that they have to create accounts in Turnitin.  Why did that happen?  Shouldn’t Canvas have taken care of that?  

Answer: Account creation requires first-time users to agree to Turnitin terms and conditions.  Students will need to agree to allow their accounts to be created.  If they have chosen not to agree, they might want to clear their cache and try again, or use another browser or computer to perform this one-time action.

Question: My students were not able to submit their assignments due to error messages about assignment title and dates.  What might be the issue?

Answer: You will need go to Turnitin settings and give the assignment a title, a start date, due date and feedback release date that should be consistent with the assignment dates you assigned in Canvas assignment settings.

Question:  A student claims that his or her assignment has been submitted but I could not see it.  Why?

Answer: The top reason is that the student may not have followed through in the submission process. One last step is to click on a button to accept the submission.  If a student does not do this, his or her assignment will not go through. If an assignment has gone through, a student should see a confirmation message on the screen.  There really isn’t a middle ground between a successful submission and an unsuccessful submission. You can ask the student to resubmit and make sure the button for confirmation is clicked.

Another possible reason is that you might have switched in your submission method from “online” to “external tools” in the middle of students submitting their assignments.  If that’s the case, submissions turned in earlier can be accessed through the Speedgrader instead of the Turnitin inbox.

Question:  Can I use the Canvas Speedgrader and Turnitin only for originality check?

Canvas has now made it possible for Turnitin assignments to be pushed to Speedgrader as well, so yes, it is possible to use the Speedgrader for grades and comments.

Alternative uses of your voice

If you hear me speaking to myself in my office, it is not a sign that I am getting crazy. I might be “typing”.  Voice recognition technologies have made it possible for us to input by simply speaking. Here are a few examples:

  1. “Type” on a mobile device:
    On your iPad or mobile phone, press the microphone icon to dictate in notes, emails, or other applications. Make sure you check the results later on.  You may need to edit the content. The same applies for other suggestions below.

iPAD Dictation tool

2. Dictate in Google Docs:
Google Docs now allows you to dictate as well.  It is called “voice typing” under “tools”.  Give it a try.  It is fairly accurate.

Google Docs Voice Dictation

3. Generate video subtitles:
If you upload a video to Youtube, Youtube can automatically transcribe your voice into subtitles which you can then improve into more accurate ones. The automatic process saves you at least half of the time compared to doing it from the scratch. However, if you do not have the time for lengthy editing, you might consider using a professional service.

Subtitles tool of Youtube

4. Leave voice comments in Canvas:
When grading student work in Canvas, you can use voice comments to give feedback to students, or use the Speech Recognition tool (works in Chrome) to have your comments turned into text.
Canvas Speedgrader Feedback

5. Take voice notes:
If you use Evernote, you can leave yourself a voice note instead of typing it.

Evernote Voice recording tool

I hope this gives you some ideas of using voice to make input easier and faster.